Published by Alessandro Violante on January 20, 2021
What’s the relationship between people and technology? To what extent we can consider ourselves slaves of the technologies we have created during the last decades? To what extent we have active control over them? Trying to make an in-depth analysis of these topics in a music review would be impossible as well as unuseful and redundant. That’s not the best place to do it and we wouldn’t find adequate answers to our questions, but those are the main concepts of the new release by the Italian artist 11xxx27, entitled Black Market, a tape released on December by Infidel Bodies, his label run together with Marika Pagano. For decades, not only sci-fi literature, cinema, sociology and the arts have tried to provide unquestionable answers to these questions without succeeding in doing it as the boundaries between the active and the passive role played by people when facing technology as well as freedom and slavery aren’t so clear. Technologic developments which are the results and the tools of the trade of the so called age of information technology daily demonstrate us how complex this ambivalence is and how it’s impossibile to give objective answers to the questions 11xxx27 himself makes us think about in Black Market.
Especially nowadays, the storm of fake news we’re exposed to everyday, the use of surveillance, the debate about the use of our personal data for commercial use by companies and by social networks, artificial intelligence and so on are our bread and butter everyone is subject to starting from the first time we watch our smartphone when we get up. Often people think they have the tools of the trade to understand how these mechanisms works, but this isn’t always true. For example, the way fake news spread through social media influencing large amounts of people in a very short time is a symptom of this phenomenon. Black Market is a product of our times, an objectification of the zeitgeist. We live in a world dominated by technologies in which they acquire an ever-increasing role on our lives and which we aren’t asked to understand but only to passively use them as Marshall McLuhan wrote in his essay “Understanding Media”.
To some extent, what 11xxx27 does with Black Market isn’t so different from what’s been doing by industrial music musicians since its early days, although the music contained in Black Market can’t be catalogued in that genre. 11xxx27 faces these topics with a modern touch, without using the same old clichés used by some musicians belonging to the so-called “grey area” of electronic music. Black Market is the bug in the system, which use, recalling Burroughs, is that of breaking the “control systems”, a tool aiming to stimulate the critical thought of the listener, a product of a free mind for free thinkers.
This release was recorded between 2018 and 2019, but if we think about the current epidemic the whole world is facing today, which is amplifying the process of digitalization of services, we could think how technology will become way more important in our lives in the near future and, especially, how our freedom and how our personal data will be sacrificed to the principle according to which the end justifies the means. Black Market is the doubt, the thought, the answer to the domination of technology, flowing through the alternative circuits which aren’t traced by the new technologic models based on machine learning.
Black Market contains eight songs featuring collaborations with Mystics, LKSMN and Mod21; the product of field recordings, samples and sound processings. We have the dark ambient-like of At the end of time (Pleasure) and You make my skin crawl and the “avant” dissonances of Surgical node (No feelings), which seems to sample the sound of old modems. We have At the end of time (Pleasure) (Mod21 version) with its cybernetic sounds recalling a technologic apocalypse until the techno-ambient of Granular tears recalls the universe of Blade Runner and the ending song The day before I was born closes the release hoping for a better future.
Black Market demonstrates once again how versatile is the music and the artistic personality of Erminio Granata, from 11xxx27 to Hyperlacrimae (with Carmine Laurenza) and, last but not least, to Infidel Bodies itself, which has always proved, in all its releases, to avoid the repetition of music schemas.
Label: Infidel Bodies
Rating: 8, 5